Irregular Bowel Movements
An irregular bowel movement refers to movements that occur less than three times a week. It can be caused by a number of factors. In general, it is not that hard to treat and it can be easy to prevent. On the other hand, bowel movements that occur more than 3 times a day is also considered irregular.
Some of the most common causes of irregular bowel movements include the following:
- Diet. When it comes to diarrhea, patients may have ingested an irritant that caused the increased bowel movement. With constipation, it may be due to a lack of fiber and water in the diet.
- Stress. This can go either way. People may react to stress with increased bowel movements or they may also experience constipation.
- Medications. Certain drugs can affect the bowel movement and like with stress, this can either cause constipation or lead to diarrhea.
In addition to these, irregular bowel movements may also be caused by a disease process, they include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
- Physical Blockages in the Bowel.
Irregular Bowel Movements Symptoms
Here are the common symptoms associated with irregular bowel movements.
- Loose stools
- Watery stools
- Bowel movement of more than three times a day.
- Decreased frequency of bowel movement.
- Hard stools
- Straining with bowel movement.
Below are some signs that can accompany diarrhea or constipation. When these are observed, patients should seek medical help.
- Severe pain
- Pain on defection
- Bleeding with defection
- Black, Tarry stools, known as Melena, this can indicate bleeding in the bowels.
- Syncope or Fainting
- Bowel movements that occur right after a meal.
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain.
Irregular Bowel Movements Treatment
Here are some treatments and lifestyle changes that can help to ease the symptoms associated with irregular bowel movements.
- Increase water intake. This is going to help soften stool and with diarrhea, it is going to help replace fluid loss. Daily fluids should amount to around 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Have a high-fiber diet. This is best for constipation but it may not be recommended for people who have diarrhea.
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid foods that are too salty and too sugary.
With diarrhea, when the condition is caused by a bacterial or parasitic infection, patients will need to take the proper medication. Patients who have cardiovascular issues should consult their doctors when they are constipated as the straining can lead to problems.